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Title: Epistasis and the evolutionary process
Author: Kalinka, Alex T.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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Despite disagreements over the fundamental importance of epistasis in the process of evolution there has been a great deal of interest in how epistasis may influence certain biological adaptations such as recombination and canalisation and how epistasis contributes to speciation and even the origins of life. In this thesis epistasis is examined in the unicellular, motile chlorophyte Chlamydomonas reinhardtii through its effects on the recombination load arising from sexual crosses. In an experiment that combined divergent selection to opposite environments with measures of between and within environment recombination loads it was found that the build up of incompatibilities between populations was not enhanced by divergent selection, and was instead the product of allopatric divergence together with genotype-be-environment interactions. Theoretical analysis is presented that shows that recombination facilitates the evolution of mutational robustness in a two-locus model.  A review of eukaryotic chromosomal linkage patterns is presented and it is argued, together with simple theoretical considerations, that epistatic selection will not cause general, large-scale patterning of gene order within chromosomes. Additionally, two more general non-linear models are developed. The first show that maternal effects may be an important component of mate choice in sexual selection models and the second demonstrates that marine snow and algal toxin production are social adaptations that can be understood as individual selection as well as group selection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available